This service integrates the SMS API
Prof. Cheick Oumar Bagayoko, won the RFI Challenge App Africawith his e-health service Bogou. This remote diagnostic tool enables patients and health professionals in remote regions to receive second opinionsfrom specialists living in urban areas. Prof. Bagayoko presents his service, and explains how Orange APIs can help services like Bogou make a difference in healthcare access for vulnerable populations.
Prof. Bagayoko created Bogou in the mid-2007 in response to a simple, yet critical problem. Patients living in remote areas of his native Mali frequently required treatment from specialists, most of whom live in urban areas. As a result, patients were forced to make long and expensive trips to cities to receive treatment, and would often have to wait days before they could be seen. “These are some of the most vulnerable patients,” Bagayoko says. “People who don’t have a lot of money, and for whom traveling to the nearest city represents a serious economic cost.”
Bogou, which means “helping others” in the Djerma and Sonrai languages spoken in Niger and Mali, aims to solve this by creating a direct line of communication. All patients and their doctors have to do is post a description of the symptoms to the platform to receive specialists’ reply over email.
The system paid immediate dividends, but still relied on email. As a result, responses were sometimes delayed, and those without connectivity or with unreliable internet service were left out.
In December 2015, Prof. Bagayoko entered Bogou among more than 650 other applications in the RFI App Challenge Africa,where it was selected as one of three finalists. This presented the opportunity to integrate Orange APIs into his platform, with direct support from local Orange teams. For Bagayoko, the choice was simple.“We thought it would be more efficient if people could use Bogou via text message, rather than email,” he explains. “Which is why we decided to try out the Orange SMS API.”
Working directly with Orange on the integration brought immediate benefits to the team. “We never encountered any major technical issues, but it was reassuring to know that Orange was on-hand to provide support in case we did,” says Bagayoko, who was subsequently named the winner of the competition in May 2016.
Going forward, Bagayoko plans to continue testing the SMS API and eventually roll it out across the entire platform. He’s also interested in integrating the Orange Money API, which would enable specialists to receive direct mobile payments. Bogou’s popularity is already growing in Africa, and Bagayoko hopes that further integration of Orange’s APIs will make it even more attractive in emerging countries.
“This isn’t a problem that’s unique to Mali or Francophone Africa,” he says. “Bogou is something that can be used across the world, and I hope it is.”